Available to rent on Amazon Prime!
THE WOMAN (2011)
Directed by Lucky McKee
Written by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee (based on a book by Jack Ketchum)
Starring Sean Bridges, Pollyanna McIntosh, Angela Bettis, Lauren Ashley Carter, Carlee Baker, Zach Rand, Shyla Molhusen
Lucky McKee’s THE WOMAN is a fantastic film. This is a story that will disgust. It will cause debate. It will shock you. Having seen it with someone who isn’t really a horror fan, I have to say it does make for an interesting discussion afterwards, especially if that person is a female. In many ways, Lucky McKee continues to explore womanhood, a concept he touches upon in his film, MAY. But in this one, the director shows he is bolder, more experienced, and more skilled in the presentation. If I were to compare this film to anything, I’d shy away from the torture porn some might think it to be and compare it more to films like DONNIE DARKO, HEATHERS and AMERICAN BEAUTY: films that that, at their heart, are twisted comedies about the complexity of the concept of family while offering a warped view of what the American ideal of family is all about. It is also a film which most definitely takes a stance on women’s roles, using the various female characters in the cast to represent the complex roles a woman plays. From abused housewife to angsty teen to bright eyed window into the future, even before exploring the role of the title character the story of THE WOMAN is rich with metaphor and ripe for a varied interpretation.
There will be those who pan this film as misogynistic and I understand why folks may misinterpret it as that. The Woman, played by the mesmerizing Pollyanna McIntosh, spends the bulk of her screentime chained to a wall in the cellar of a farmhouse. Female characters are abused, sexually molested, degraded, and viewed as objects rather than humans. If that’s not misogynistic, I don’t know what is. But in the hands of director Lucky McKee, he uses these uncomfortable scenes for a reason. His Woman is the harbinger of wrath for all of the abusers, the users, the takers, and those who sit idly by and watch it all happen. Though some could argue that the bulk of the film depicts an uncomfortable degree of abuse towards women, the dramatic and bloody finale rings as the point McKee is trying to bring across. If anything, this is a cautionary tale to respect the power of women.
On top of all of those heavy themes, McKee has made a fantastically entertaining film. His use of music in this is genius, twistedly juxtaposing Sean Spillane’s often poppy and folksy soundtrack with the dark secrets going on in the entire cast’s heads. The songs are quite catchy too, especially Spillane’s Cobain-esque “Distracted” which plays just before all of the shit goes down in the film. Immediately after finishing the film I downloaded the soundtrack.
This is not a comfortable film to watch. It’s gory. It’s demented. It’s perverse. It shows a part of America that folks are not willing to admit exists and are definitely not proud of. I’ve always said that films that cause unease may not be the favorites of most folks, but they are the most effective horror ones. McKee has achieved both. Using Jack Ketchum’s fantastic screenplay and book as the backbone, THE WOMAN is a brain twisting, moral churning, hypnotizing film experience.